Scheduled index updates in Acrobat DC

Acrobat makes searching a large repository of PDFs a breeze by creating an index. An Acrobat index is like a searchable record of every single word in a collection of PDFs. When you create an index in Acrobat, it searches through all the PDFs once and then saves those search results in an index file (.pdx) for future reference. This means that you do not have to perform the search again the next time you want to find something. A point to note here is that you have to make sure that your files and their metadata are up-to-date (else the index file will reference old data).

You can refer to the article create and manage a PDF index in Acrobat DC.

In large enterprises dealing with huge PDF repositories, instead of updating the index file manually, you can automate and schedule when and how often to automatically build, rebuild, update, and purge an index. This process involves creating a batch index file (.bpdx) and then scheduling the run by utilizing the operating system’s built-in task scheduler. By utilizing Acrobat’s index scheduling, we can have our search index files updated at any time of the day and on any day of the week. This is extremely useful if you have PDF files that are constantly being updated and you want to keep your search indexes up-to-date.

Create the .bpdx file

A .bpdx file is a text file that contains a list of platform-dependent catalog index file paths and flags. You can use a scheduling application, such as Windows Scheduler or Automator for Mac OS, to display the .bpdx file in Acrobat. Acrobat then recreates the index according to the flags in the .bpdx file.

There are three flags that are supported:

  • Rebuild the index: /rebuild
  • Build the index: /build
  • Delete the index: /purge

An example <filename>.bpdx file can contain:

\\fileserver\sharedfiles\index.pdx /rebuild
c:\pdfsrepository\finalpdfs\testindex.pdf /build

So all you need to do is create a plain text file that lists the index file you want to update and includes flags that determine the action you want to perform on the index.

  1. Open Notepad.
  2. Type the following commands:
    “C:\<Path to the folder containing Acrobat.exe>” 
    C:\<fully qualified path to .pdx file> /rebuild

    For example,

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat DC\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe" 
    C:\TR1 Source Docs\Test.pdx /rebuild

    NOTE: It is important that the fully-qualified path is not enclosed in quotation marks even if the path includes spaces.
    For example, use the following command:

    C:\TR1 Source Docs\Test.pdx /rebuild

    and not

    C:\TR1 Source Docs\Test.pdx /rebuild
  3. Save the text file as a .bpdx file. For example, IndexScheduler.bpdx.

Set the catalog in Acrobat preferences

  1. Launch Acrobat.
  2. Select Edit > Preferences (on Windows) or Acrobat > Preferences (on Mac).
  3. In Catalog, select Allow Catalog batch files (.bpdx) to be run.
  4. Click OK.

 Set up a scheduled task using Windows Task Scheduler

  1. Launch Task Scheduler.
  2. Choose Action > Create Task
  3. On the General tab of the Create Task dialog box, enter a name for the task. For example, enter BPDX Scheduler.
  4. On the Actions tab of the Create Task dialog box, click New to create an action for the task, and provide information about the action in the New Action dialog box as below:
    Program/ script: <Path to the Acrobat.exe file> 
    For example, "C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat DC\Acrobat\Acrobat.exe"
    Add arguments: <Path to the BPDX file>


5. Click OK.

For more information about scheduling tasks in Task Manager, refer the Microsoft document:

Set up a scheduled task using Automator in Mac

  1. Launch Automator.
  2. Choose File > New > Application.
  3. In the left pane, select Files and Folders and double-click Get Specified Finder Items and Open Finder Items.
    The items will be added to the right pane.
  4. In the Get Specified Finder Items pane, click Add and browse to select the created .bpdx file.
  5. In the Open Finder Items section, select Adobe Acrobat in the Open with drop-down list.
  1. Choose File > Save and then select the scheduler task.
    Make sure that Application is selected in File Format.

For more information on automation and scheduling tasks in Automator, refer the following page:

After you have created the new event in Windows Scheduler or Automator for Macintosh with the instruction to execute the Acrobat application with this .bpdx file at the required time, you will find that Acrobat will load the index file you specified and automatically carry out either a Full Build, Rebuild, or Delete (Purge) action on the search index. The result is that your indexes will stay updated and your PDF search experience will be top-notch, making you all the more productive.